We confront the world believing that today, the world will be a better place to live in for all and sundry. Yet, the shackles of filthy mindsets bind us, even in a pandemic-struck world.
A police constable in Gujarat’s Surat allegedly stripped a 33-year woman for not wearing a mask, raping her multiple times. The woman said that he took inappropriate pictures of her, blackmailed her with legal action, and continued raping her. In January, a video showed a cop fighting with a woman.
However, the accused constable’s wife had accused the victim and her husband of casteism.
The incident dates back to August 2020, when the lockdown began. The woman had gone to buy milk in Palsana, where the accused, Naresh Kapadiya, had been stationed.
He threatened to take her to the police station for not wearing a mask. Instead of taking her to the police station, the constable abducted and took her to Navsari road, where he allegedly thrashed and stripped her. He also took inappropriate photographs of the woman and raped her. The photos were later used by the accused to blackmail and rape her.
While this is the victim’s side of the story, the accused Kapadiya’s wife has something different to say. She said that the woman and her husband had come to their house to spur casteist slurs at them. Due to this, Kapadiya filed a police complaint against them and, both were booked under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act).
After a video of him fighting with the victim went viral in January, Naresh Kapadiya was transferred from Palsana police station to Umarpada police station, as per the initial investigation. According to an investigator investigating the case, the accused and the victim may have been in an affair. Following disputes, they lodged complaints. The investigation, thus, continues.
Gujarat’s crime figures have unfortunately gone up over time. At least two murders, four incidents of rape, and six kidnappings have occurred every day in the state in the last two years. According to the state home department, as many as 1,944 murders, 1,853 incidents of attempted murder, 3,095 rapes, 4,829 incidents of abduction, and over 14,000 cases of suicide were reported in different parts of the state in the last two years ending December 31, 2020. The highest number of rapes took place in Ahmedabad.
In a similar incident, an Uttar Pradesh police constable allegedly raped a 24-year-old woman on the pretext of marrying her. The cop hailed from Meerut and posted at the Bhagatpur police station in Moradabad. The woman alleged that the accused had been raping her for four years by promising to marry her. However, the woman recently got to know that he was already married and cheating on her. He refused to marry her and threatened to post intimate photos of her if she complained.
The constable had already been booked for rape and criminal intimidation. In India rape laws, were strengthened after a nationwide public outcry in 2012 after the Nirbhaya Case, which led to the passing of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act in 2013. This outcry made the laws stricter and more punishable. But here’s the catch. To implement laws, the protectors need to be firm, don’t they? Depressingly, it is not the same.
The current protectors of the law seem to create a breeding atmosphere for criminals, something which is not in sync with what they are required to do. A woman today steps out, and if she sees a cop nearby, she feels relieved, or at least she ought to. How shameful this is for the police force, who can not cast an image of a haven.
As far as the accused’s wife’s claims are concerned, caste-based violence, too, is a grave offense. The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 criminalizes any form of discrimination and crimes against SC and ST people. Yet again, the country struggles to maintain equality and uphold fundamental rights.
Where does the loophole start to affect the structure?
The answer is improper decentralization. Decentralization does not only mean the transfer of powers. It also takes into account the responsibilities that need to be disbursed to the implementers of the law.
If the country does not listen to the talk, then the leaders need to walk. That, too, must be accomplished quickly.
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